As Florida's offense tries to find its rhythm in summer sessions, one of its premier playmakers has gone down for the season.
According to Scott Carter of GatorZone.com, redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose has torn his ACL. Debose left practice on Tuesday with a knee injury, and further examination has revealed the worst-case scenario. As Florida coach Will Muschamp told Carter on Wednesday:
I know that Andre is disappointed. He had been doing very well in camp and we were more than pleased with his effort and attitude. Andre was hurt in a non-contact situation. He just planted his foot and there was a tear.
He will have surgery after the swelling goes down. It is unfortunate and you feel bad anytime that someone is injured, and the coaching staff and our team will be very supportive in assisting Andre during his recovery.
How big is this injury?
This is absolutely devastating news for a Gators offense that has been heavily scrutinized since last season.
Florida finished the year ranked 78th in points per game and 118th in yards per contest. The lack of playmakers at wide receiver held the team back and played a role in why many games were so close.
Debose certainly didn't help matters. Though Scout.com ranked Debose a 5-star recruit among his class of 2009 peers, he hasn't lived up to expectations. He's caught 29 passes for 543 yards and four touchdowns in three years of playing time.
Last season, he caught three passes for 15 yards. His lack of production has frustrated Gator fans and forced many to slap him with the "bust" label.
He has also had a hard time avoiding the injury bug. This is the second time his season will be cut short, as he missed the 2009 season with an injury he suffered in high school. He also missed playing time last season due to various injuries.
Even still, this is a crushing blow for an offense that will take any positive news it can get at this point. While Debose isn't what most thought he would be, he is still a playmaker with the ball in his hands and a threat when on the field.
He averaged 27 yards per catch in 2011 and has the game-changing speed that Florida needs—the same speed that has produced four special-teams touchdowns.
Debose brought experience to the wide-receiver corps and at least had potential to have a breakout season. Now, wide receivers Quinton Dunbar and Solomon Patton will be counted on more than ever.
The Gators may also be forced to use cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy on offense a little more than expected.
As reported by David Jones of The News-Press, the injury to Debose is only the Gators' latest health-related setback. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is recovering from an emergency appendectomy, and running back Matt Jones is hoping to bounce back from a viral infection.
This offseason can't end soon enough for the Florida coaching staff.